• We are catalysts for innovation, commercialising next-generation technologies developed by

    The University of Manchester’s world-class research base

    • £360m+ invested by venture funders

    • 40+ spin-out companies created

    • 7,500+ licences and IP partnerships concluded

    • 4,000+ invention disclosures received

    • £115m+ IP and R&D revenue generated for the University

  • We are catalysts for innovation, commercialising next-generation technologies developed by The University of Manchester’s world-class research base

    • £300m+ invested by venture funders since 2004

    • 40+ spin-out companies created

    • 4,800+

      licences and IP partnerships concluded

    • 3,700+ invention disclosures received

    • 1,300+ jobs generated across various industry sectors

    • £105m+ IP and R&D revenue generated for the University

Archive for May, 2015

Prof. Vikas Shah appointed new FutureEverything Chair of the Board

In its 20th anniversary year, Manchester based Innovation Agency FutureEverything welcomes Prof. Vikas Shah, who will lead the company into its third decade as new Chair of the Board.

Vikas Shah is founder of consultancy Thought Strategy, and CEO of leading global textiles and trading business Swiscot Group. He is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship on the Lisbon MBA with the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Board Member of TiE UK North (part of the world’s largest entrepreneurs network). In addition, he regularly lectures at entrepreneurship events globally, including the MIT Global Startup Workshop and the RICE Business Plan Competition.

He replaces outgoing Chair Lou Cordwell, CEO of digital agency magneticNorth.

Vikas joins the FutureEverything Board of Directors with high profile members drawn from the arts, technology and industry:


  • Rowena Burns, Chief Executive at Manchester Science Partnerships and a Non-Executive Director of Bruntwood, a family-owned and run property company.
  • Emer Coleman, architect of The London Datastore, founder of DSRPTN consultancy and Development Director with TransportAPI, a startup powering innovation and change in transport.
  • Ruairidh Jackson, Senior Project Director at Argent, one of the UK’s largest property development companies.
  • Drew Hemment, Founder & CEO, FutureEverything and Dundee Fellow, University of Dundee.

FutureEverything is an innovation agency that presents city data services, design for science, innovation events, advice and training, art commissions, and experiences and demonstration. Its festival is both a cultural event and research vehicle, for experimentation in methods and mechanisms for research and knowledge exchange around the emergence of a digital culture.

Vikas joins FutureEverything in its 20th Anniversary year – a pivotal period in the company’s history. FutureEverything has been experiencing significant growth over the last three years, with its staff having recently expanded to 14, including the appointment of Tom Higham as Executive Director and the enlargement of its programming, production and communications teams.

Vikas Shah, incoming Chair said:

“This is a profoundly important time in the relationship of people with technology; not just in terms of how we (as individuals) use technology, but rather how the digital culture emerging from science and technology interfaces with society, economies, art, governance and more. It is through festivals and organisations like FutureEverything that we will begin to develop the thinking tools to solve the crises impacting our futures, and take full advantage of the opportunities on our horizon.

I feel immensely humbled to have been asked to take the Chair at one of the world’s most important organisations working in this sphere, which is proudly run by a truly inspirational group.”

Drew Hemment, Founder and CEO said:

Vikas is a visionary figure whose appointment is causing tremendous excitement in the team and among our partners. His wealth of cross-sector insight, entrepreneurial vision and international outlook will be an invaluable asset in driving the company forwards. Myself, the board and the whole team could not be more excited to have someone of his calibre join the company as Chair.”

For further information please contact Simon Webbon at FutureEverything:

simon@futureeverything.org / 0161 232 4603

Rapid progression demonstrates power of C4XD technology

Selection of drug candidate from Orexin-1 programme to treat stress-related addictive disorders and entry into pre-clinical development

Rapid progression demonstrates power of C4XD technology

C4X Discovery Holdings plc (“C4XD” or “the Company”), a leader in rational drug discovery and design, today announced that it has selected a drug candidate from its Orexin-1 programme to enter pre-clinical development prior to the initiation of clinical studies for the treatment of stress-related addictive disorders. This represents a major milestone for C4XD.

Treatment of addictions, such as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and opiates, is an area of high unmet medical need. This market is worth around $9 billion annually and Orexin-1 represents a key molecular target for new drug development in this area. C4XD’s drug candidate is a small-molecule compound discovered using the Company’s unique, highly efficient conformational design technology.

Industry-leading selectivity, excellent drug-like properties in pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies and a good toxicological profile strongly support the progression of the candidate into pre-clinical development. Subject to satisfactory progression, C4XD anticipates this programme should enter clinical development in the second half of 2016

The rapid progression of this programme demonstrates the potential of conformational design to accelerate the identification and optimisation of small molecule therapeutics. C4XD reached this milestone in less than 50% of the time typically required by industry, which targets 3 – 5 years for such projects. The Company’s approach required the synthesis of fewer than 100 compounds and C4XD estimates overall project cost savings to date of up to 90% compared to standard industry approaches.

In addition to this drug candidate, C4XD is progressing additional series of Orexin-1 inhibitors with distinct profiles to enable the development of follow-up compounds for other indications within the field of addiction treatment.

C4XD has the only technology in the world that can generate accurate, experimentally-derived dynamic solution 3D structures of drug molecules in just a matter of days, helping to accelerate product development. Our conformational insights can be used in conjunction with existing technologies for rational drug design and can make a particularly high impact when protein crystallography is not routinely available, as is the case for GPCRs (G-protein-coupled receptors, such as orexin receptors) and ion channels.

“We are enormously excited by this significant demonstration of the power of our technology. Taking our proprietary drug candidate into preclinical development represents an important milestone,” said Piers Morgan, CEO of C4XD. “Our technology has shown a speed and economic efficiency that could revolutionise the drug discovery process. The C4XD platform, centred on conformational design of small molecule therapeutics, is delivering on its promise to develop innovative treatments faster and at a fraction of the cost of conventional approaches.”

Making a Difference Awards for Social Responsibiity

Last Thursday (7 May) saw the University’s first ever Making a Difference Awards for Social Responsibility take place in The Whitworth Hall. The Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of staff, students and alumni, and celebrate how they are all making a difference.

Winners received their awards from Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell in 11 different categories; such as Outstanding Contribution to Community Collaboration, Outstanding Contribution to Equality and Diversity and Outstanding Benefit to Society through Research, with all winners highlighting the significant difference they are making to the social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing of our communities and wider society.

There was a huge amount of interest in this initiative with the Awards receiving over 100 entries, making the judge’s job very difficult. In addition to the 14 winners, over 25 projects received the accolade of Highly Commended and Special Awards were given to Professor Aneez Esmail from the Institute of Population Health, for his outstanding contribution to equality and diversity and Andrew Gray from The Manchester Museum, for his outstanding contribution to public engagement and environmental sustainability.

Professor James Thompson, Associate Vice President for Social Responsibly said: “The Awards event was a wonderful opportunity to recognise some of the inspiring activities in which staff, students and alumni of the University are involved. It was the perfect platform to share some of the best social responsibility stories, raise the profile of dozens of University and community initiatives and in doing so contribute further to their impact.”

Details of all the winners and highly commended entries can be found on the Social Responsibility website.

Nutrition Workshop, 15th May and Funding Opportunities

Nutrition is an important topic in that it underpins health and consequently forms the foundations of much of the research that is undertaken not only in the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, but also across the University and the MAHSC partnership. Nutrition is also of strategic interest to our major funders. We have considerable expertise and interest in the area at the University of Manchester, and across MAHSC, but we have yet to bring the community together in such a way that we may exploit our potential strengths.

In order to begin to address this the Research Deanery is organising a workshop on the 15 May with the aim of coalescing the existing community and producing some concrete ideas and plans for future research proposals.

Within the last two weeks you may have noticed that the MRC, BBSRC and EPSRC launched a Cross Council Framework Document for Food, Nutrition and Health (attached).  Attached is the BBSRC’s 2015-2020 framework for this area.

I would also like to highlight this from the MRC’s website: “In the spirit of the joint Research Council Food, Nutrition and Health vision, MRC and BBSRC will partner to encourage co-ordinated effort in mechanistic nutritional research through Responsive Mode later in 2015.”

This workshop will be attended by both Mary Travers of the BBSRC and Karen Finney of the MRC to discuss their strategy, and they will be joining in the group sessions where we shall be looking at identifying Manchester’s strengths and forming ideas for research proposals to take forwards.

Please share and also make sure you register if you were intending to and haven’t done so already. We would also encourage PIs whose interests are not necessarily specifically in nutrition, but may be around other areas (e.g. basic science, informatics, ‘omics, systems biology) to attend as their skills and ideas can often illuminate possibilities avenues for research that might not have otherwise been considered.

Registration is via eventbrite, here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/research-in-nutrition-workshop-15th-may-2015-10-3pm-registration-16154043178

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Daniel Jameson in the MHS Research Deanery (daniel.jameson@manchester.ac.uk), or Sarah Barton, the Deanery administrator (sarah.barton@manchester.ac.uk).

Social enterprise Levenshulme Market finalists in Britain’s Best Food Market 2015

The team behind innovative social enterprise Levenshulme Market is celebrating being named as a finalist in the hunt to find Britain’s Best Food Market in the 2015 BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards at a ceremony broadcast live last night.

The weekly market in Levenshulme has been recognised for its pioneering work as a social enterprise which helps to empower its community to take ownership of the high street through its Market Fund, launched this year, as well as providing a “diverse range of high quality traders, with a changing roster of 50 artisan traders, [including] a variety of fresh produce and street food” and developing the market into a quality destination for food and drink retailers that has changed the face of markets in Manchester.

The 15th BBC Food and Farming Awards celebrate the best of British food and those companies and individuals who grow, make and supply it. The Best Food Market category seeks to recognise Britain’s food market pioneers – a regular market that brings together a wide range of great food producers, while serving a local community.

The market was established by residents and local traders as a monthly market in 2013, with a launch funded by UnLtd and Manchester City Council. In 2014 the market became weekly, thanks to funding from UnLtd, via The University of Manchester’s technology transfer office, UMIP, which enabled the social enterprise to undertake a growth programme. The Market is now well established as one of the foremost markets in the North West and the business has recently begun operating “sister” markets in the Northern Quarter in Manchester and on The University of Manchester campus. Director, Helen Power, said “UMIP and the University have been instrumental in the progress of the market via two different funding awards with UnLtd. We are also shortlisted in the University’s Making a Difference Awards social enterprise category this year – I am an employee of the University and without the support we have received the business would not be where it is today.”

Fellow director Brenda Smith added: “This is an amazing accolade for us and we couldn’t be prouder.  We’re obviously grateful to the BBC and to all of our supporters but the real thanks should go to the people of Levenshulme – they have embraced the idea of what we have been trying to do for nearly three years now and stuck with us when even we weren’t sure it would work – our business is all about community and our community has made us what we are”. Neil Buttery – a director of the market who established his successful food business in order to trade there and recently reached the finals of The Telegraph’s Fabulous Foodie competition – said: “I am so pleased that Levenshulme has managed to achieve a great balance between its main aims: that it supports both burgeoning and established Levenshulme businesses whilst attracting a rich diversity of non-local businesses on a weekly basis from producers that residents simply could not find on their local high street.”

The market continues to go from strength to strength and will be held every week until December, offering shoppers an alternative to the supermarkets – with staples like bread, cheese, eggs, meat and fruit and veg accounting for around a third of the 50 stalls – with the remainder of the stalls being grouped around rotating weekly themes:

  • 1st Saturday of the month – Handmade and home: the market for modern craft and home wares – from photography and art to vintage furniture and hand-crafted jewellery
  • 2nd Saturday of the month – Food and drink: exclusively food and drink traders selling artisan produce and products
  • 3rd Saturday of the month – Fashion and flea: a market for lovers of style – the best vintage and modern fashion makers
  • 4th Saturday of the month – The best of the best – the North West’s finest market traders gather for an end-of-month jamboree – anything from vintage vinyl to organically grown bedding plants
  • Where there are five Saturdays in the month, the market forgoes its Saturday market and instead lay on special Friday night markets that pick up on themes relevant to the time of year and other goings on in the city.

For more information please contact Helen Power: 07853 266 598/info@levymarket.co.uk

Web: www.levymarket.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/levymarket

Twitter: @levymarket

Levenshulme market 2Levenshulme market